JP2018527200A - Robot arm - Google Patents

Robot arm Download PDF

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Publication number
JP2018527200A
JP2018527200A JP2018502784A JP2018502784A JP2018527200A JP 2018527200 A JP2018527200 A JP 2018527200A JP 2018502784 A JP2018502784 A JP 2018502784A JP 2018502784 A JP2018502784 A JP 2018502784A JP 2018527200 A JP2018527200 A JP 2018527200A
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JP
Japan
Prior art keywords
gear
shaft
drive
robot arm
axis
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Pending
Application number
JP2018502784A
Other languages
Japanese (ja)
Inventor
ベイツ ジャクソン,トーマス
ベイツ ジャクソン,トーマス
デイビッド ロナルド ヘアーズ,ルーク
デイビッド ロナルド ヘアーズ,ルーク
マーシャル,キース
ジェイムズ ランドル,スティーブン
ジェイムズ ランドル,スティーブン
Original Assignee
シーエムアール サージカル リミテッドCmr Surgical Limited
シーエムアール サージカル リミテッドCmr Surgical Limited
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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Publication date
Priority to GB1512959.6 priority Critical
Priority to GB1512959.6A priority patent/GB2541369A/en
Application filed by シーエムアール サージカル リミテッドCmr Surgical Limited, シーエムアール サージカル リミテッドCmr Surgical Limited filed Critical シーエムアール サージカル リミテッドCmr Surgical Limited
Priority to PCT/GB2016/052264 priority patent/WO2017013453A1/en
Publication of JP2018527200A publication Critical patent/JP2018527200A/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J17/00Joints
    • B25J17/02Wrist joints
    • B25J17/0283Three-dimensional joints
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B34/00Computer-aided surgery; Manipulators or robots specially adapted for use in surgery
    • A61B34/30Surgical robots
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J17/00Joints
    • B25J17/02Wrist joints
    • B25J17/0258Two-dimensional joints
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J17/00Joints
    • B25J17/02Wrist joints
    • B25J17/0258Two-dimensional joints
    • B25J17/0275Universal joints, e.g. Hooke, Cardan, ball joints
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J18/00Arms
    • B25J18/02Arms extensible
    • B25J18/04Arms extensible rotatable
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J9/00Programme-controlled manipulators
    • B25J9/10Programme-controlled manipulators characterised by positioning means for manipulator elements
    • B25J9/102Gears specially adapted therefor, e.g. reduction gears
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16HGEARING
    • F16H19/00Gearings comprising essentially only toothed gears or friction members and not capable of conveying indefinitely-continuing rotary motion
    • F16H19/001Gearings comprising essentially only toothed gears or friction members and not capable of conveying indefinitely-continuing rotary motion for conveying reciprocating or limited rotary motion
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/00681Aspects not otherwise provided for
    • A61B2017/0069Aspects not otherwise provided for with universal joint, cardan joint
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B34/00Computer-aided surgery; Manipulators or robots specially adapted for use in surgery
    • A61B34/30Surgical robots
    • A61B2034/305Details of wrist mechanisms at distal ends of robotic arms
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S901/00Robots
    • Y10S901/19Drive system for arm
    • Y10S901/25Gearing
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S901/00Robots
    • Y10S901/19Drive system for arm
    • Y10S901/25Gearing
    • Y10S901/26Gearing including bevel gear

Abstract

A robot arm configured to articulate the first limb 310 of the arm with respect to the second limb 311 of the arm about two non-parallel rotation axes, the joint mechanism comprising: An intermediate carrier 28 attached to the first limb by a first rotary joint having a pitch rotary axis 20 and attached to the second limb by a second rotary joint having a yaw rotary axis 21; A first drive gear 33 disposed around the rotational axis and secured to the intermediate carrier; a second drive gear 37 disposed about the yaw rotational axis and secured to the second limb; A first drive shaft for driving the first drive gear to rotate about the pitch rotation axis, the first drive gear extending along the first limb and the first shaft gear; The first drive shaft is engaged with the first drive gear, and the second drive gear is driven to rotate the yaw rotary shaft. A second drive shaft 27 for rotating around, a second drive shaft extending along the first limb and having a second shaft gear 34, supported by the intermediate carrier, and An intermediate gear train 35, 38, 39 for connecting a shaft gear to the second drive gear is included. [Selection] Figure 3

Description

  The present invention relates to a drive device for a robot joint, and particularly relates to a robot list.

  A robot that is required to skillfully handle an object, such as an industrial or surgical robot, for example, may have arms consisting of rigid elements connected in series by a number of flexible joints. Many. Such a joint may be of any type, but may generally be a rotary joint or a combination of a rotary joint and a straight joint. The arm extends from a base that is fixed or movable and ends with a tool or attachment for the tool. The tool may be, for example, a tool that grips, cuts, illuminates, illuminates or images. The final joint in the arm may be called a wrist. Such a list may allow movement only around a single axis, or may be a complex or complex joint that allows rotation around multiple axes. As disclosed in our co-pending patent application PCT / GB2014 / 053523, the wrist may comprise two roll joints whose axis extends substantially longitudinally with respect to the arm, It may be separated by two pitch / yaw joints whose axis substantially traverses the arm.

In the case of a surgical robot, there are many important criteria that affect the design of the distal joint of the arm.
1. It is desirable that the arm, particularly the distal portion where the wrist is located, be small. This allows a plurality of such robot arms to operate in close proximity, thus further expanding the range of surgical operations that the arms can perform.
2. The outer shape of the distal portion of the arm is preferably circularly symmetric with respect to the length of the arm. This allows the distal portion to be rotated in the longitudinal direction without the need for repositioning when in proximity to another robot or some other device or patient.
3. Since it is desirable for the joint to be able to transmit high torque, it can carry heavier tools and transmit high acceleration to the tip of the tool.
4). Since it is desirable that the joint be stiff and have little or no play or elasticity, it will be fixed there when the tool tip is positioned. The traditional approach to minimizing play is to designate one or more gear elements at the expense of a high level of maintenance, leaving a worn piece of gear in the arm. There is a possibility.
5. Since all articulations desirably have position and force / torque sensors, the control mechanism can capture data from these sensors.
6). It is desirable that the distal portion of the robot arm be as light as possible in order to reduce the force to be exerted by the more proximal joint of the robot arm.
7). A typical robot arm has its drive motor and possibly a cable that supplies power to the tool and feeds back signals from sensors such as position sensors, torque sensors, and imaging sensors. The arm preferably includes a path for such cables to pass through the interior of the arm.
8). It would be desirable to have a method of cooling the motor that drives the distal joint of the robot arm and payload or tool.

  A number of important criteria make it difficult to design an arm that best balances all requirements.

  One particular problem is how to attach motors and gears to the list of robot arms. Such an arrangement should be compact but should also allow high stiffness and torque transmission. Many existing designs compromise one of these criteria.

  There is a need for an improved drive for a list of robotic arms.

  According to the present invention, there is provided a robot arm configured to include a joint mechanism for articulating a first limb of an arm around two non-parallel rotation axes with respect to a second limb of the arm, A middle joint attached to the first limb by a first rotary joint having a first axis of rotation and attached to the second limb by a second rotary joint having a second axis of rotation. A carrier, a first drive gear disposed about the first rotational axis and secured to the intermediate carrier, and a second drive shaft disposed about the second rotational axis and secured to the second limb. A second drive gear and a first drive shaft for driving the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotational axis, the first drive shaft extending along the first limb and the first shaft Having a gear, A first drive shaft in which one shaft gear is adapted to engage with the first drive gear; and a second drive shaft for driving the second drive gear to rotate about the second rotation axis. A drive shaft, extending along the first limb and having a second shaft gear, and supported by the intermediate carrier, the second shaft gear being the second drive gear The robot arm is characterized by including an intermediate gear train coupled to the robot arm.

  The intermediate gear train includes a first intermediate gear disposed around the first rotation shaft, and the first intermediate gear engages with the second shaft gear. May be. The first intermediate gear may be rotatable around the first rotation axis.

  The robot arm further includes a control unit adapted to respond to a command signal instructing movement of the robot arm by driving and rotating the first and second drive shafts. May be. The control unit drives the first drive shaft when the robot arm is commanded to articulate about the first rotational axis without articulating about the second rotational axis. And rotating to cause articulation about the first axis of rotation and drive the second drive shaft to counteract parasitic articulation about the second axis of rotation. May be. The control unit can be configured to perform its operations automatically.

  The intermediate gear train may include a plurality of connecting gears configured to rotate around an axis parallel to the first rotation axis.

  The intermediate gear train may include an intermediate shaft configured to rotate around an axis parallel to the first rotation axis. The intermediate shaft may have a third shaft gear, and the third shaft gear may be engaged with the second drive gear.

  The connection gear is on one side of a plane perpendicular to the first rotation axis and including the teeth of the first drive gear, and at least a portion of the third shaft gear is on the other side of the plane It is in.

  The third shaft gear may be a worm gear, that is, a gear that follows a spiral path of teeth. One or both of the first and second shaft gears may be worm gears.

  One or both of the first drive gears may be bevel gears, i.e., beveled cones with straight pitch surfaces and / or gears whose teeth are arranged on such cones Good. The tooth trace may be linear or curved. One or both of the first drive gears may be a skew shaft gear.

  The first drive gear may be a partial circular gear. At least a part of the second drive gear may intersect a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear. At least a portion of the intermediate shaft may intersect a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.

  According to the second aspect of the present invention, the robot arm configured to include a joint mechanism for articulating the first limb of the arm around the two non-parallel rotation axes with respect to the second limb of the arm. The joint mechanism is attached to the first limb by a first rotational joint having a first rotational axis and the second limb by a second rotational joint having a second rotational axis. An intermediate carrier mounted on the first rotation axis, a first drive gear fixed to the intermediate carrier, and a second drive axis disposed around the second rotation axis. A second drive gear fixed to the limb, and a first drive shaft that drives the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotation axis and extends along the first limb With the first shaft gear A first drive shaft adapted to engage the first drive gear with the first shaft gear, and driving the second drive gear around the second rotational axis. A second drive shaft to be rotated, which extends along the first limb on one side of the plane including the second axis of rotation and extends to the other side of the plane through the plane. Two drive shafts, and an intermediate connecting portion that meshes with the second drive shaft on the other side of the plane and connects the second shaft gear to the second drive gear. A robot arm is provided.

  The second drive shaft may include a flexible element. The flexible element is disposed on the first rotation axis. The flexible element may be a universal joint.

  The second drive shaft is connected to the intermediate carrier by a rotary joint on the other side of the plane.

  The second drive shaft may have a second shaft gear on the other side of the plane. The intermediate coupling portion includes an intermediate shaft, and the intermediate shaft engages with the second shaft gear, and the second intermediate gear meshes with the second drive gear. You may have.

  The second drive shaft may rotate about an axis perpendicular to the second rotation axis.

  The second intermediate gear may be a worm gear. The first shaft gear may be a worm gear.

  One or both of the first drive gears may be bevel gears. One or both of the first drive gears may be a skew shaft gear.

  The first drive gear may be a partial circular gear. At least a part of the second drive gear may intersect a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.

  According to the third aspect of the present invention, the robot arm configured to include a joint mechanism for articulating the first limb of the arm around the two non-parallel rotation axes with respect to the second limb of the arm. The joint mechanism is attached to the first limb by a first rotational joint having a first rotational axis and the second limb by a second rotational joint having a second rotational axis. An intermediate carrier mounted on the first rotation axis, a first drive gear fixed to the intermediate carrier, and a second drive axis disposed around the second rotation axis. A second drive gear fixed to the limb, and a first drive shaft that drives the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotation axis and extends along the first limb With the first shaft gear A first drive shaft adapted to engage the first drive gear with the first shaft gear, and driving the second drive gear around the second rotational axis. A second drive shaft for rotation, extending along the first limb and having a second shaft gear, such that the second shaft gear engages the second drive gear A second drive shaft, wherein the second drive shaft changes the length of the intermediate carrier according to the movement of the intermediate carrier around the first rotation axis. There is provided a robot arm characterized by including a straight joint that can be moved.

  The rectilinear joint may be a sliding spline connection.

  The second drive shaft may include a first flexible joint on one side of the rectilinear joint and a second flexible joint on the other side of the rectilinear joint.

  The second drive shaft may be connected to the intermediate carrier by a rotary joint on the opposite side of the second flexible joint relative to the rectilinear joint.

  One or both of the first and second shaft gears may be worm gears.

  One or both of the first drive gears may be bevel gears. One or both of the first drive gears may be a skew shaft gear. The first drive gear may be a partial circular gear.

  At least a part of the second drive gear may intersect a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.

  The first and second rotation axes may be orthogonal. The first and second rotation axes may intersect each other.

  The present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Schematic of a surgical robot arm. The figure which shows in more detail the rotating shaft in the list | wrist of the arm of FIG. The figure which shows a part of 1st wrist mechanism seen from the distal side and one side. The figure which shows a part of 1st wrist mechanism seen from the distal side and the opposite side. The figure which shows a part of 2nd wrist mechanism seen from the proximal side and one side. The figure which shows a part of 2nd wrist mechanism seen from the distal side and one side. The figure which shows a part of 3rd wrist mechanism seen from the distal side and one side. The figure which shows a part of 3rd wrist mechanism seen from the distal side and the other side. The figure which shows the 3rd wrist mechanism in the center longitudinal direction cross section seen from one side. The figure which shows the 3rd wrist mechanism in the center longitudinal direction cross section seen from the other side. The figure which shows the communication path | route in a robot arm. The figure which shows the terminal module for robot arms in a longitudinal direction cross section.

  The wrist mechanism described below has been found to provide a compact and mechanically advantageous configuration for at least some of the robot wrist joints or other applications.

  FIG. 1 shows a surgical robot having an arm 1 extending from a base 2. The arm 1 includes a number of rigid limbs 3. The limb 3 is connected by a rotary joint 4. The latest limb 3a is connected to the base by a joint 4a. The limb 3 and the other limb 3 are connected in series by a further joint 4. List 5 is composed of four individual revolute joints. The list 5 connects one limb 3 b to the most distal limb 3 c of the arm 1. The most distal limb 3 c has an attachment 8 for a surgical instrument or tool 9. Each joint 4 of the arm 1 provides information about the current configuration and / or the load at that joint, and one or more motors 6 that are operable to cause rotational movement at the respective joint 4. One or more position and / or torque sensors 7. For clarity, only some of the motors and sensors are shown in FIG. Arm 1 may generally be that described in our co-pending patent application PCT / GB2014 / 0553523. The attachment point 8 for the tool includes (i) a configuration that allows the tool to be mechanically attached to the arm, and (ii) electrical and / or optical output and / or data between the tool. And (iii) any one or more of a mechanical drive for driving the movement of a part of the tool may be included as appropriate. In general, the motor is preferably located proximal to the driving joint so as to improve the weight distribution. As will be described below, a controller for a motor, a torque sensor, and an encoder is arranged with the arm. The controller is connected to the control unit 10 via a communication bus.

  The control unit 10 includes a processor 11 and a memory 12. The memory 12 stores non-transient software executable by the processor to control the operation of the motor 6 to operate the arm 1 as described herein. In particular, the software can control the processor 11 to drive a motor (eg, via a located controller) in response to input from the sensor 7 and input from the surgeon command interface 13. The control unit 10 is connected to the motor 6 in order to drive them according to the output generated by the execution of the software. The control unit 10 is connected to the sensor 7 for receiving sensed input from the sensor and is connected to the command interface 13 for receiving input therefrom. Each connection may be, for example, an electric cable or an optical cable, or may be a wireless connection. The command interface 13 includes one or more input devices that allow a user to request arm movement in a desired manner. The input device may be a mechanical input device that can be manually operated, such as a non-contact input device such as a control handle, a joystick, or an optical gesture sensor. The software stored in the memory 12 is configured to respond to these inputs and move the arm joints accordingly in accordance with a predetermined control procedure. The control procedure may include a safety function that adjusts the movement of the arm in response to a command input. Thus, in summary, the surgeon can control the robot arm 1 with the command interface 13 and move it to perform the desired surgical procedure. The control unit 10 and / or the command interface 13 may be remote from the arm 1.

  FIG. 2 shows the robot list 5 in more detail. The list 5 includes four rotary joints 300, 301, 302, and 303. Such joints are arranged in series, including the rigid portion of the arm extending from each joint to the next joint. The most proximal joint 300 of the wrist couples arm portion 4b to arm portion 310. The joint 300 has a “roll” axis of rotation 304 that is oriented generally along the arm limb 4b just proximal to the wrist joint. The next most distal (pre-correction: “distal” → “proximal”) joint 301 in the list couples the arm site 310 to the arm site 311. Joint 301 has a “pitch” rotation axis 305 that is perpendicular to axis 304 in all configurations of joint 300 and joint 301. The next most distal (pre-correction: “distal” → “proximal”) joint 302 in the list couples the arm site 310 to the arm site 311. The joint 302 has a “yaw” rotation axis 306 that is perpendicular to the axis 305 in all configurations of the joints 301, 302. In some configurations of the list, axis 306 is also perpendicular to axis 304. The next most distal (pre-correction: “distal” → “proximal”) joint 303 in the list couples arm portion 311 to arm portion 4c. The joint 303 has a “roll” rotation axis 307 that is perpendicular to the axis 306 in all configurations of the joints 302, 303. In some configurations of the list, axis 307 is also perpendicular to axis 305 and parallel to axis 304 (preferably collinear). In order for this to provide a particularly compact configuration, it is desirable that the axes 305, 306 intersect each other. Joints 300 and 303 may be arranged so that axes 304 and 307 can pass through the intersection of axes 305 and 306 in some configurations of the list.

  This list design does not have singularities in certain parts of the range of motion that can be assembled in a relatively compact shape and that can require excessively high speeds for individual joints In addition to this, it is advantageous in that a wide range of movement can be performed from a tool attached to the attachment point 8 at the tip of the arm portion 4c.

  3 and 4 show an example of a mechanism suitable for realizing a part of the list 5 of the arm 1 of FIG. 3 and 4 focus on the mechanism corresponding to the joints 301 and 302 shown in FIG. 2 (as in FIGS. 5-10).

  In the region of list 5, the rigid arm portion 310, 311 has a hollow outer shell or case 310 ', 310 ", 311'. Such a shell defines the majority of the outer surface of the arm. In addition, the outer wall of each shell is partially or completely enclosed, and includes a void within which the motor, sensor, cable, and other components of the arm are housed, such as a metal, such as an aluminum alloy or steel, Alternatively, it may be formed from a composite, for example, a fiber reinforced resin composite such as carbon fiber reinforced resin, etc. The shell constitutes a part of the rigid structure of the arm portion attached between the joints. May include a structural framework as described below with respect to the embodiment of FIG.

  In FIGS. 3 and 4, for clarity, the shell of arm portion 310 is shown as two portions 310 ′ and 310 ″, both drawn in outline and disassembled from each other. The shells of the parts 4b, 4c are omitted, as is the mechanism associated with the joints 300, 303. The shell of the arm part 311 is shown partially or mostly extending from the flat part 311 ′. .

  The shell of the arm portion 310 (consisting of shell portions 310 ′ and 310 ″) and the shell of the arm portion 311 (extending from the flat portion 311 ′) have two rotations indicated by 20 and 21. 2, which correspond to the axes 305, 306 in Fig. 2. The axes 20, 21 are orthogonal, the axes 20, 21 intersect. Attached to the arm section 310 by bearings 29, 30. Such a coupler extends between the bearings 29, 30. The bearings 29, 30 allow relative rotation of the coupler and arm section about the axis 20. Except that the coupler is fixedly held in the arm portion 310, thus defining a rotary joint corresponding to the joint 301 of FIG. In addition, the bearing 31 has a distal shell connector flat portion 311 ′ attached to the coupler 28. The bearing 31 is distal, except that it allows relative movement of the flat portion about the axis 21 and the coupler. The shell connector flat portion 311 ′ is fixedly held by the coupler 28 and thus defines a rotary joint corresponding to the joint 302 of FIG.

  Accordingly, the coupler 28 is fixed to the arm portion 310 around the axis 21. Coupler 28 is also secured to arm portion 311 about axis 20. That is, this mechanism prevents the coupler 28 and arm portion 310 from relative rotation or movement about the axis 21 and also prevents the coupler 28 and arm portion 311 from relative rotation or movement around the axis 20. It is configured.

  Two electric motors 24 and 25 (see FIG. 4) are attached to the arm portion 310. Such a motor drives the drive shafts 26 and 27 extending in the middle of the wrist mechanism. The shaft 26 drives rotation around the axis 20. The shaft 27 drives rotation around the axis 21. The drive shaft 26 ends at the distal end of the worm gear 32. The worm gear 32 is engaged with a bevel gear 33 fixed to the coupler 28. The drive shaft 27 ends at the distal end of the worm gear 34. The worm gear 34 further engages a gear train generally indicated at 35 that terminates in the worm gear 36. The worm pinion gear 36 is engaged with a hypoid bevel gear 37 that is fixed to the distal shell connector 311 '.

  In this embodiment, the gear 33 is directly attached to the coupler 28. That is, the coupler 28 is in contact with the gear 33. Therefore, the gear 33 is attached to the coupler 28. The distal shell connector flat portion 311 ′ is also directly attached to the gear 37. Therefore, the gear 37 may abut on the connector flat part 311 '.

  Shafts 26 and 27 are parallel and both extend along arm portion 310. In particular, the shafts 26 and 27 extend in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310. The shafts 26 and 27 may be parallel to the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310 or may be attached at an angle with respect to the overall longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310. For example, the arm portion 310 may be tapered from the proximal end toward the distal end, and the shafts 26 and 27 may extend in a direction parallel to the taper angle of the arm portion 310.

  Since the worm gears 32 and 34 are attached to the drive shafts 26 and 27, respectively, they can be called shaft gears. Since the rotation of the gear 33 drives the rotation around the axis 20 of the arm portion 311 with respect to the arm portion 310, the gear 33 can be referred to as a drive gear. Similarly, since the rotation of the gear 37 drives the rotation of the arm portion 311 about the axis 21 relative to the arm portion 310, the gear 37 can also be referred to as a drive gear.

  The gear 33 is formed as a sector gear. That is, the motion arc (defined by the tooth arc in the example of FIGS. 3 and 4) is less than 360 °.

  The gear train 35 is supported by the coupler 28. The gear train 35 includes an input gear 38 that engages with the worm gear 34. The input gear 38 is arranged such that its rotational axis with respect to the coupler 28 coincides with the axis 20. This means that the input gear can continue to engage the worm gear 34 regardless of the configuration of the coupler 28 relative to the arm portion 310 about the axis 20. A series of additional gears having an axis parallel to axis 20 transmits drive from input gear 38 to output gear 39 on shaft 40 which is parallel to the axis of rotation for carrier 28 but offset from axis 20. The shaft 40 ends with a worm gear 36. The shaft 40 extends parallel to the axis 20. The gears of the gear train 35 are supported by the coupler 28 together with the shaft 40.

  Next, the operation of the list mechanism will be described. For movement about the axis 20, the motor 24 is operated to drive the shaft 26 and rotate relative to the arm portion 310. This drives the bevel gear 33 so that the coupler 28 and the distal shell flat portion 311 ′ rotate about the axis 20 relative to the arm portion 310. For movement around the shaft 21, the motor 25 is operated to drive the shaft 27 and rotate relative to the arm portion 310. This drives the bevel gear 37 so that the distal shell connector flat portion 311 ′ rotates about the axis 21 relative to the arm portion 310. As the drive shaft 26 is rotated, the gear 28 is driven to rotate and cause parasitic movement of the distal shell connector flat portion 311 ′ about the axis 21 while the drive shaft 27 is stationary. It will be observed that 38 also rotates relative to the coupler 28. In order to prevent this, the arm control system 10 performs the compensation operation of the drive shaft 27 in conjunction with the movement of the drive shaft 26 as necessary, and separates the movement around the axis 21 from the movement around the axis 20. If, for example, the shells 310, 311 need to be moved relative to each other only about the axis 20, the motor 24 is activated to produce that movement while the motor 25 is It is operated to prevent 38 from rotating relative to the carrier 28.

Various aspects of the mechanism shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 are advantageous to help make the mechanism particularly compact.
1. It is more convenient for the bevel gear 33 to be partially circular, that is, its teeth do not include a complete circle. For example, the gear 33 may be less than 270 °, less than 180 °, or less than 90 °. This is so arranged that at least a part of the other bevel gear 37 intersects a circle coincident with the gear 33 having the same radius as the outermost part of the gear 33 around the axis of the gear 33. Is allowed. Such a feature helps reduce the extent of spread of the composite joint, while at the same time being particularly important in the type of list shown in FIG. 2 with a pair of roll joints and a pair of pitch / yaw joints between them. Yes, because with this type of joint there is redundancy between the pitch / yaw joints so that a wide range of positions at the distal end of the arm can be reached even if the movement about the axis 20 is limited. It is.
2. Conveniently, the component gear 33 rotates about the shaft 20 as the carrier 28 rotates relative to the closest arm portion 310 as opposed to rotating about the shaft 21, as described above. This is because the component gear can be cut so as to accommodate the shaft 40 intersecting with the circle. Thereby, space saving can be achieved by positioning the worm gear 36 on the opposite side of the bevel gear 33 with respect to the gear train 35. However, in other designs, the gear 37 can have a partially circular shape because the component gear can rotate about the axis 21.
3. It is convenient that the worm gears 32 and 34 are located on the opposite side of the shaft 20 with respect to the bevel gear 37. That is, there is a plane including the shaft 20 in which the worm gears 32 and 34 are disposed on one side and the bevel gear 37 is disposed on the opposite side. This helps provide a compact packaging arrangement. Accordingly, both worm gears 32 and 34 are disposed on one side of a plane including the axis 20 parallel to the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310.
4). It is advantageous if the worm gear 34 is located on the opposite side of the bevel gear 33 away from the worm gear 36 and / or the gear train 35 is located only on the opposite side of the bevel gear 33 away from the worm gear 36. This also helps provide a compact packaging arrangement. That is, the gear train 35 (including all connecting gears such as the gears 38 and 39) may be located on one side of the gear 33. In other words, the gear train 35 (including connected gears) and the gear 33 are disposed on both sides of a plane parallel to both the shaft 21 and the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310. The plane may include an axis 21.
5. Advantageously, the gear 33 and / or the gear 37 are provided as bevel gears because they can be driven away from the worm gear arranged in the plane of the respective outer radius. However, they can also be external gears engaged on their outer surfaces by worm gears 32, 34 or radially toothed gears.
6). Conveniently, the bevel gear 33 is arranged to be interposed between the worm gears 32, 34. This helps the compact packaging of the motors 24, 25.
7). Conveniently, the bevel gears and the worm gears coupled to them can be hypoids or skewed shafts, for example, Spiroid®. These gears allow a relatively high torque capacity in a relatively compact form.

  FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate a second form of wrist mechanism suitable for providing joints 301, 302 in a wrist of the type shown in FIG.

  As shown in FIG. 5, the wrist includes a pair of rigid outer shells 310 ′, 311 ′ that define the outer surface of each of the arm portions 310, 311 of FIG. 2. 310 'is more proximal in the shell. The arm portions formed by the shells 310 ′ and 311 ′ can be rotated relative to each other about the shafts 62 and 63 corresponding to the shafts 305 and 306 in FIG. 2, respectively. The axes 62 and 63 are orthogonal. The axes 62 and 63 intersect. The shells 310 'and 311' define the outside of the arm in the wrist region, and are hollow to accommodate a rotating mechanism and to secure a space for passing cables or the like, as will be described in detail below. It is said that. The shell can be made from a metal such as an aluminum alloy or steel, or a composite such as a fiber reinforced resin composite such as carbon fiber. The shell constitutes the main rigid structure of the arm portion attached between each joint.

  FIG. 6 shows the same mechanism from the distal and one side with the shell 311 'removed for clarity.

  The shell 310 ′ is connected to the shell 311 ′ by a cross-shaped coupler 64. The coupler has a central tube 65 that extends approximately the length of the arm and defines a duct through its center. The first arms 66 and 67 and the second arms 68 and 69 extend from the tube. Each shell 310 ', 311' is attached to the coupler 64 by a rotary joint so that it only rotates about a single axis and is limited to movement relative to the coupler. The first arms 66 and 67 are attached to the shell 310 ′ by bearings 70 and 71 that allow rotation between the first arm about the shaft 62 and the shell 310 ′. The second arms 68 and 69 are attached to the shell 311 ′ by bearings 72 and 73 that allow rotation between the second arm about the shaft 63 and the shell 311 ′. The first bevel gear 74 is concentric with the first arms 66 and 67. The first bevel gear 74 is fixed to the coupler 64 and is rotatable with respect to one proximal side 310 ′ of the two shells. The second bevel gear 75 is concentric with the second arms 68 and 69. The second bevel gear is fixed to one of the distal sides 311 ′ of the two shells and is rotatable with respect to the coupler 64.

  The pair of arms 66 and 67 of the coupler is perpendicular to the pair of arms 68 and 69. The arms 66 and 67 are located on the rotation shaft 62, and the arms 68 and 69 are located on the rotation shaft 63. The coupler 64 is directly attached to the gear 74. Therefore, the coupler 64 is in contact with the gear 74. The coupler 64 (and thus the gear 74) is rotatable with respect to the arm portion 310 around the axis 62. However, the coupler 64 and the gear 74 are fixed about the axis 63 with respect to the arm portion 310, which may cause relative movement or rotation about the axis 63 between the coupler 64 and the arm portion 310. There is no such thing.

  The bevel gear 75 may be directly attached to the arm part 311. The bevel gear 75 is rotatable around the axis 63 with respect to the coupler 64 (and thus the arm portion 310). However, the gear 75 is fixed around the axis 62 with respect to the coupler 64. In other words, relative rotation or movement around the shaft 62 cannot occur between the coupler 64 and the gear 75.

  The two shafts 76 and 77 operate the movement of the composite joint. Such a shaft extends from one of the proximal sides of the shell 310 'to the central region of the joint. Each shaft is attached at its proximal end to the shaft of a respective electric motor (not shown), and the housing of such motor is secured within the proximal shell 310 '. In this way, the shafts 76 and 77 are driven by the motor and are rotatable relative to the proximal shell 310 '.

  Shaft 76 and its associated motor manipulate movement about axis 62. Shaft 76 terminates at the distal end of worm gear 78 that engages bevel gear 74. The rotation of the shaft 76 causes the bevel gear 74 to rotate relative to the shell 310 ′ about the shaft 62. The bevel gear 74 is fixed to a coupler 64 having a distal shell 311 'in turn. Accordingly, the rotation of the shaft 76 causes the shells 310 ′ and 311 ′ to relatively rotate about the shaft 62.

  Shaft 77 and its associated motor manipulate movement about axis 63. In order to do this, the bevel gear 75 must eventually be driven using a worm gear 79 carried by the coupler 64. Such rotation of the worm gear 79 can cause relative rotation between the coupler and the distal shell 311 '. In order to achieve this, the drive is transmitted from the shaft 77 to the shaft supporting the worm gear 79 via a pair of gears 80, 81 supported by the coupler 64. The shaft 77 approaches the carrier 64 from the proximal side. The gears 80 and 81 are disposed on the distal side of the coupler. Therefore, the gears 80, 81 and 79 are fixed to the coupler 64 around the shafts 62 and 63. Shaft 77 passes through a duct defined by tube 65 in the center of the coupler. To accommodate the movement of the coupler 64 relative to the first shell 310 ', the shaft 77 has a universal or hook joint 82 along its length. The universal joint 82 is located on the shaft 62. Instead of a hook joint, the shaft may have another form of flexible coupling, such as an elastic coupling (which may be integral with the shaft) or a constant velocity joint.

  Since the worm gear 78 is attached to the drive shaft 76, it can be called a shaft gear. Since the rotation of the gear 74 drives the rotation around the axis 62 of the arm portion 311 relative to the arm portion 310, the gear 74 can be referred to as a drive gear. Similarly, the rotation of the gear 75 drives the rotation around the axis 63 of the arm portion 311 relative to the arm portion 310, so the gear 75 can also be referred to as a drive gear.

  The shaft 77 crosses a plane including the rotation axis 63. This plane further includes a rotation axis 62. Thus, the shaft 77 includes a proximal portion proximal to the plane and a distal portion distal to the plane. The proximal portion of the shaft 77 is attached to or otherwise connected to the motor. The distal portion of the shaft is attached to gear 80. Therefore, the gear 80 is disposed on the distal side of the plane. The gear 80 can also be called a shaft gear. The proximal and distal portions of the shaft 77 may be separated by a hook joint 82. The hook joint causes the proximal and distal portions of shaft 77 to rotate relative to each other so that rotation of the proximal portion is coupled to the distal portion. Since the distal portion of the shaft 77 is attached to the gear 80, the gear 80 is rotationally fixed to the shaft 77.

  The gear 80 engages or meshes with the gear 81. In this embodiment, the gears 80 and 81 are spur gears. Gears 80 and 81 have axes of rotation that are parallel but offset. The rotational axis of the gear 80 is collinear with the rotational axis of the distal portion of the shaft 77. The worm gear 79 is configured to rotate according to the rotation of the gear 81. The worm gear 79 may be rotationally fixed with the gear 81 so that the rotation of the gear 81 causes a corresponding rotation of the worm gear 79. The worm gear 79 may have a rotation axis that is collinear with the rotation axis of the gear 81. Thus, the gears 80 and 81 operate to couple the rotation of the shaft 77 to the rotation of the gear 79 about a rotation axis parallel to the rotation axis of the distal portion of the shaft 77.

  The rotation axis of the worm gear 79 is not parallel to the rotation axis (axis 63) of the gear 75 and does not intersect. Therefore, the gear 75 is a skew shaft gear. Similarly, the rotation axes of the worm gear 78 and the gear 74 are non-parallel and non-intersecting. Therefore, the gear 74 is also a skew shaft gear.

  The rotation of the shaft 76 that causes the coupler 64 to rotate about the axis 62 causes the gears 80, 81 (and thus the worm gear 79) to rotate when the shaft 77 is stationary, and the rotational axis of the distal shell 311 ′ relative to the shell 310 ′. It has been confirmed that parasitic motion around 63 may be caused. This is because the rotation of the coupler 64 about the axis 62 driven by the rotation of the shaft 77 needs to be adjusted by the hook joint 82, and the rotation of the coupler 64 about the longitudinal axis of the shaft 77 of the hook joint. This is because parasitic rotation may be caused. Such parasitic rotation of the hook joint can result in the rotation of the gears 80 and 81, and thus the rotation of the bevel gear 75. Such parasitic motion is common when the hinge axes of the hook joints are not perpendicular to each other and / or when one of the hinge axes is neither parallel nor coincident with the rotation axis 62.

  To prevent this parasitic motion, the control system 10 is configured to drive the compensating motion of the shaft 77 in conjunction with the motion of the shaft 76 to separate the motion about the shaft 62 from the motion about the shaft 63. Also good. In this manner, the control system 10 operates the motor to drive the rotation of the shaft 76, causing rotation about the axis 63 of the arm portion 311 'relative to the arm portion 310', and at the same time operates the motor to drive the shaft 77. May be configured to rotate the shaft 77 so as to prevent parasitic rotation around the shaft 63. The control system 10 can be configured to operate in this manner when the robot arm is commanded to articulate about axis 62 without articulating about axis 63.

  The control system 10 may also be configured to drive the rotation of the shafts 76 and / or 77 to reduce irregularities in the rotation of the hook joint 82 (ie, increase smoothness). When the hook joint is off-axis, i.e., when the arm portion 311 'is pitched around the shaft 62 with respect to the arm portion 310', rotation may be irregular. Thus, when the arm portion 311 ′ is pitched around the axis 62 relative to the arm portion 310 ′, the arm portion 311 ′ is commanded to articulate around the axis 63 relative to the arm portion 310 ′. The control system may operate to drive the rotation of the shaft 77 to maintain a smooth or constant rotational speed of the hook joint 82. This can help provide a smooth and / or constant rotation about the axis 63.

  This mechanism may allow for the provision of a particularly compact, lightweight and rigid drive for rotation about shaft 62 and shaft 63 without excessively limiting the movement of the shell of the mechanism components. found. Thereby, both motors can be accommodated in the proximal shell, and the distal weight can be reduced.

Various aspects of the mechanism shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 are advantageous to help make the mechanism particularly compact.
1. It is more convenient for the bevel gear 74 to be partially circular, that is, its teeth do not include a complete circle. For example, the gear 74 may be less than 270 °, less than 180 °, or less than 90 °. This is arranged such that at least a part of the other bevel gear 75 intersects a circle coincident with the gear 74 having the same radius as the outermost part of the gear 74 around the axis of the gear 74. Is allowed. Such a feature helps reduce the extent of spread of the composite joint, while at the same time being particularly important in the type of list shown in FIG. 2 with a pair of roll joints and a pair of pitch / yaw joints between them. Yes, because with this type of joint, there is redundancy between the pitch / yaw joints so that a wide range of positions at the distal end of the arm can be reached even with limited movement around the axis 62. It is. As shown in FIG. 6, the bevel gear 74 has a small radius in a region not included in the teeth. The partial circular bevel gears of other embodiments may be formed in the same manner.
2. Conveniently, gear 74 and / or gear 75 are provided as bevel gears because they can be driven away from worm gears arranged in the plane of the respective outer radius. However, they may also be external gears engaged on their outer surfaces by worm gears 76, 79 or gears with radial teeth.
4). Conveniently, the bevel gears and the worm gears coupled to them can be skew axes, for example, Spiroid®. These gears allow a relatively high torque capacity in a relatively compact form.

  7-10 show another form of the wrist mechanism. In these drawings, the shells of the arm portions 310 and 311 are omitted, and the structure in the arm portion is exposed. The proximal arm portion 310 has a structural framework 100, which is schematically shown in several drawings. The distal arm portion 311 has a structural framework 101. The arm portions 310 and 311 are rotatable relative to each other around the axes 102 and 103 corresponding to the axes 305 and 306 in FIG. The carrier 104 connects the arm portions 310 and 311 together. The carrier 104 is attached to the arm portion 310 by bearings 105 and 190. These bearings define a rotational joint about axis 102 between arm portion 310 and carrier 104. The carrier 104 is attached to the arm portion 311 by a bearing 106. These bearings define a rotary joint about the axis 103 between the arm portion 311 and the carrier 104. A first bevel gear 107 centering on the shaft 102 is fixed to the carrier 104. The second bevel gear 108 around the shaft 103 is fixed to the arm portion 311.

  Thus, the carrier 104 can rotate about the axis 102 relative to the arm portion 310. However, the carrier 104 is otherwise fixed to the arm portion 310 and in particular is fixed around the axis 103. Therefore, the carrier 104 is not allowed to rotate relative to the arm portion 310 around the axis 103. Second bevel gear 108 can rotate about axis 103 relative to carrier 104. The second bevel gear 108 (and thus the arm portion 311) may be fixed to the carrier around the axis 102. Therefore, the second bevel gear 108 is allowed to rotate relative to the carrier 104 around the axis 103, but is not allowed to rotate relative to the carrier around the axis 102.

  Axes 102 and 103 are orthogonal in this example, but are generally two non-parallel axes. They may be substantially orthogonal to each other. These axes are substantially transverse to the longitudinal direction of arm portion 310 in at least one configuration of joints 301 and 302. In the apparatus shown, one such configuration is when the arm portion 311 is not articulating relative to the arm portion 310. In the context of a Cartesian coordinate system, axis 102 can be thought of as a “pitch” rotation axis and axis 103 as a “yaw” rotation axis.

  Similar to the other mechanisms described herein, the carrier 104 is disposed inside the limbs 310 and 311.

  Two motors 109 and 110 are fixed to the skeleton 100 of the arm portion 310. The motor 109 drives the shaft 111. The shaft 111 is a rigid body and terminates in a worm gear 118 that engages the bevel gear 107. When the motor 109 is operated, the shaft 111 rotates relative to the proximal arm portion 310 to drive the bevel gear 107, and hence the coupler 104 and arm portion 311, to move the arm portion 310 about the shaft 102. Rotate against. The motor 110 drives the shaft 112. The shaft 112 has a worm gear 113 near the distal end that engages the bevel gear 108. To accommodate the movement of the bevel gear 108 relative to the motor 110 as the coupler 104 moves about the shaft 102, the shaft 112 is coupled to a pair of universal joints 114, 115 and a spline coupling that accommodates the axial expansion and contraction of the shaft 112. The coupler 116 is provided. The final part of the shaft 112 is attached to the coupler 104 by a bearing 117.

  Spline coupled coupler 116 is an example of a straight joint.

  The distal portion of shaft 112 attached to carrier 104 by bearing 117 is secured to worm gear 113 (shown most clearly in FIG. 10). The bearing 117 defines a rotary joint located on the opposite side of the universal joint 115 with respect to the coupler 116. This rotational joint allows the distal portion of shaft 112 to rotate relative to carrier 104. The distal portion of the shaft 112 extends in a direction perpendicular to the axis 102 at all rotational positions of the carrier and is rotatable relative to the carrier 104 about an axis perpendicular to the axis 102. Referring to FIG. 7, it can be seen that the shaft 112 traverses a plane that includes the axis 102 that traverses the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310. In this embodiment, the distal portion of shaft 112 is directly attached to worm gear 113 and thus extends between worm gear and carrier 104. The distal portion of the shaft 112 is attached to the carrier 104 to ensure that the worm gear 113 engages the bevel gear 108 as the carrier 104 articulates about the axis 102.

  Universal joints 114 and 115 of the shaft 112 are disposed on both sides of the coupler 116. Both universal joints are arranged proximal to the rotation axes 102 and 103. Universal joints 114 and 115 and coupler 116 are arranged such that carrier 104 is rotatable relative to arm portion 310 about axis 102.

  The bevel gear 107 is disposed around the shaft 102. That is, the gear 107 has the shaft 102 as its rotation axis. The rotation of the gear 107 around the axis 102 drives the rotation of the arm portion 311 relative to the arm portion 310. Therefore, the gear 107 can be called a drive gear.

  The bevel gear 108 is disposed around the shaft 103. Therefore, the bevel gear 108 has the shaft 103 as its rotation axis. The rotation of the gear 108 about the axis 103 drives the rotation of the arm portion 311 about the axis 310 relative to the arm portion 310. Thus, the gear 108 can also be referred to as a drive gear.

  The shaft 111 extends along the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 310. The longitudinal axis of shaft 111 may be perpendicular to axis 102 at all rotational positions of carrier 104 about axes 102 and 103. The shaft 111 (and attached worm gear 118) rotates about the longitudinal axis of the shaft 111. This rotation axis is non-parallel and non-crossing with the rotation axis 102 of the gear 107. Therefore, the gear 107 is a skew shaft gear.

  Both worm gears 113 and 118 are arranged in the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 311 when the arm portion 311 is aligned with the arm portion 310 around the axis 103, in other words, when the arm portion 311 is not yawing with respect to the arm portion 310. May be located on one side of a plane that includes the axis 103. In particular, both worm gears may be located proximal to the plane. However, the worm gears 113 and 118 may be located on both sides of a plane including the axis 102 parallel to the longitudinal direction of the arm portion 311.

  As the carrier 104 articulates about the axis 102, operation of the universal joints 114 and 115 and the coupler 116 causes the worm gears 113 and 118 to rotate relative to each other about the axis 102. When the arm portion 310 is aligned with the arm portion 311 about the axis 102 (ie, when the arm portion 311 is not pitched relative to the arm portion 310), the distal portions of the worm gear 113 and shaft 112 are the worm gear 118 and shaft 111. And parallel. In all other configurations around the arm site axis 102, the distal portions of the worm gear 113 and shaft 112 are non-parallel to the worm gear 118 and shaft 111.

  Since the worm gears 113 and 118 are respectively attached to the corresponding drive shafts 112 and 111, they can be called shaft gears.

  Next, the operation of the joint mechanism will be described.

  To drive the articulation about axis 102, motor 109 is operated to rotate drive shaft 111 about its longitudinal axis. Since the shaft gear 118 is attached to the shaft 111, the rotation of the shaft 111 causes the shaft gear 118 to also rotate around the longitudinal axis of the shaft 111. The shaft gear 118 engages with the drive gear 107 and rotates the drive gear 107 about the shaft 102 relative to the arm portion 310. Since the carrier 104 is fixed to the drive gear 107, the rotation of the drive gear 107 causes a rotation around the axis 102 with respect to the arm portion 310 of the carrier 104. Rotation of carrier 104 about axis 102 drives articulation about axis 102 relative to arm portion 310 of arm portion 311. As the carrier 104 rotates about the axis 102, the universal joints 114 and 115 and the rectilinear joint 116 articulate to adjust the rotation about the axis 102 of the shaft gear 113 relative to the shaft gear 118.

  In order to drive the articulation about the axis 103, the motor 110 is operated to rotate the drive shaft 112. The rotation of the proximal end of drive shaft 112 is coupled to the rotation of shaft gear 113 through universal joints 114 and 115 (and coupler 116). The shaft gear 113 is engaged with the bevel gear 108. Thus, the rotation of the shaft gear 113 drives the rotation of the gear 108 about the axis 103 relative to the carrier 104. Since the bevel gear 108 is fixed to the arm portion 311, rotation of the gear 108 causes the arm portion 311 to articulate relative to the arm portion 310 about the axis 103.

  If drive shaft 111 rotates while shaft 112 remains stationary, it may cause parasitic motion about axis 103 of arm portion 311. This is because when the carrier 104 rotates around the shaft 102, the universal joints 114 and 115 rotate, and the rotation of the worm gear 113 and thus the bevel gear 108 may be driven. In order to prevent this parasitic motion, the control system 10 operates the motor 109 to drive the rotation of the shaft 111 and rotates the arm part 311 around the axis 102 with respect to the arm part 310, and at the same time, It may be configured to drive and drive the rotation of the shaft 112 to prevent parasitic rotation about the shaft 103. The control system 10 can be configured to operate in this way when the robot arm is commanded to articulate about axis 102 without articulating about axis 103.

  The control system 10 may also be configured to drive the rotation of the shaft 112 so as to reduce irregularities in the rotation of the universal joints 114 and 115. The hook joints may become irregular or inconsistent in rotation when they are off-axis, i.e., when the arm portion 311 is pitching with respect to the arm portion 310. Thus, when the arm portion 311 is pitching with respect to the arm portion 310, the control system 10 may cause the arm 112 to be articulated about the axis 103 relative to the arm portion 310. The rotation may be driven to operate to maintain a smooth or constant rotational speed of the hook joints 114 and 115. This can help provide a smooth and / or constant rotation about the axis 103.

  The various aspects of the mechanism shown in FIGS. 7-10 are advantageous in that they help to make the mechanism particularly compact. For example:

  It is more convenient for the bevel gear 107 to be partially circular, that is, its teeth do not include a complete circle. For example, the gear 107 may be less than 270 °, less than 180 °, or less than 90 °. This means that at least part of the other bevel gear 108 is arranged to intersect a circle coincident with the gear 107 having the same radius around the axis of the gear 107 as the outermost part of the gear 107. Is allowed. Such a feature helps reduce the extent of spread of the composite joint, while at the same time being particularly important in the type of list shown in FIG. 2 with a pair of roll joints and a pair of pitch / yaw joints between them. Yes, because this type of joint has redundancy between pitch / yaw joints, so that it can reach a wide range of positions at the distal end of the arm even if the movement around the axis 102 is limited. It is.

Conveniently, the worm gears 118 and 113 are located on both sides of the bevel gear 107.
In other words, the bevel gear 107 may be interposed between the worm gears 113 and 118. This can help provide a compact package configuration. Conveniently, the gear 107 and / or the gear 108 are provided as bevel gears because they can be driven away from the worm gear arranged in the plane of the respective outer radius. However, they may be worm gears attached to the shafts 111, 112 or external gears engaged on their outer surfaces by gears with teeth on the outer surfaces.

  Conveniently, the bevel gears and the worm gears coupled to them can have a skew axis, for example, a spiroid shape. These gears allow a relatively high torque capacity in a relatively compact form.

Various changes can be made to the mechanism described above. The following are examples and are not limiting.
-The axes corresponding to the axes 305, 306 need not intersect or be orthogonal.
In general, the axes corresponding to axes 305 and 306 are two non-parallel axes of rotation. They may be substantially perpendicular to each other in all configurations of joints 301 and 302. Each axis may substantially traverse the longitudinal direction of arm portion 310 in at least one configuration of joints 301 and 302. One such configuration is when the arm portion 311 is not pitching or yawing with respect to the arm portion 310.
The axes corresponding to the axes 305 and 306 are non-parallel but do not have to be orthogonal Axis 305 is not parallel to axis 304 but need not be orthogonal. Axis 306 is not parallel to axis 307 but need not be orthogonal.
The axes corresponding to the axes 304 and 307 need not be parallel and collinear. They may be parallel but need not be collinear.
For example, the arm part 3b can be cranked with respect to the arm part 3c.
The bevel gears or their external gear equivalents need not be driven by the worm gear. They can be driven by other gears. For example, it can be driven by a pinion.
-The drive gear may thus be a bevel gear or another type of ring gear, such as an external gear, i.e. a gear with radially extending teeth.
The shaft gear may be a worm gear or another type of gear such as a pinion, for example, a bevel gear.
-Either or both bevel gears may be part gears. More generally, either one or both drive gears may be partial gears.
-In the above embodiment, the mechanism forms part of the list for the robot arm. Such a mechanism may be used in other applications, such as other parts of the robot arm, non-robot applications such as robot tools and control heads for cameras.

  As described with reference to FIG. 1, each joint is provided with a torque sensor that senses torque applied to the shaft of the joint. Data from the torque sensor is provided to the control unit 10 for use in controlling the operation of the arm.

  9 and 10 show one of the torque sensors and its mounting arrangement in cross section. The torque sensor 150 measures the torque applied to the shaft 103 extending from the carrier 104 to the distal arm frame 101. As described above, the bevel gear 108 is fixed to the frame 101 and is rotatable around the shaft 103 with respect to the carrier 104. The bevel gear 108 includes a gear portion 151 extending in the radial direction and a neck portion 153 extending in the axial direction, and the gear teeth 152 extend from the gear portion 151 in the axial direction. The neck 153, the gear portion 151 extending in the radial direction, and the gear teeth 152 are integrated with each other. The inner wall and the outer wall of the neck 153 have a cylindrical shape. A pair of rollers or ball bearings 106, 154 fits snugly around the outer wall of the neck. The bearing is located in the cup of the carrier 104 and holds the neck 153 at an appropriate position with respect to the carrier while allowing the bevel gear 108 to rotate with respect to the carrier about the shaft 103.

  The torque sensor 150 includes a top flange 155 that extends in the radial direction, a torsion tube 156 that extends in the axial direction from the top flange 155, and a base 157 that has an internal thread formed at the end of the torsion tube 156 opposite to the top flange 155. It is equipped with. The top flange 155 is in contact with the gear portion 151 of the bevel gear 108. The top flange is fixedly held on the gear portion by bolts 158. The torsion tube 156 extends to the inside of the neck 153 of the bevel gear 108. The outer wall of the twisted tube has a cylindrical shape. The outside of the base 157 is configured with a spline structure that securely engages with a corresponding structure in the frame 101 so that the two are fixedly held with respect to the shaft 103. Bolts 159 extend through frame 101 to base 157 and clamp them together. Therefore, it is a torque sensor 150 for attaching the bevel gear 108 to the arm frame 101, and a torque applied to the shaft 103 is applied via the torque sensor. The twisted tube has a hollow interior and a wall that is thinner than the twisted tube 150. When torque is applied through the torque sensor, a slight torsional distortion of the torsion tube occurs. The distortion of the twisted tube is measured by a strain gauge 160 fixed to the inner wall of the twisted tube. The strain gauge creates an electrical output indicative of torsion representing the torque on the shaft 103. The strain gauge may be in another form, such as an optical interferometer that provides optical output.

  In order to obtain the most accurate output from the torque sensor, torque transmission from the bevel gear 108 to the frame 101 that bypasses the torsion tube 156 should be avoided. Therefore, it is preferable to reduce the friction between the neck 153 of the bevel gear 108 and the base 157 of the torque sensor. One possibility is to provide a gap between the bevel gear neck and both the base and torsion tube of the torque sensor. However, this makes it possible to apply a shearing force to the torsion tube in a direction transverse to the axis 103, reducing the accuracy of the torque sensor by exposing the strain gauge 160 to other than the torsional force. Another option is to introduce bearings between the inside of the neck of the bevel gear 108 and the outside of the base 157 of the torque sensor. However, this substantially increases the volume occupied by the mechanism. Instead, the configuration shown in FIG. 8 has been shown to give good results. A sleeve or bushing 161 is provided in the neck 153 of the bevel gear 108 around the twisted tube 156. The sleeve is sized to be in continuous contact with the inner wall of the neck 153 and the outer wall of the twisted tube 156, and has a cylindrical shape. The entire inner surface of the sleeve is in contact with the outside of the twisted tube 156. The entire outer surface of the sleeve is in contact with the inner surface of the neck 153. The sleeve is configured to apply relatively little friction between the neck and the twisted tube; for example, the sleeve may be formed or coated with a low friction or self-lubricating material. The sleeve is made of a substantially incompressible material so that the deformation of the torque sensor can be prevented under shear forces across the shaft 103. For example, the sleeve may be formed of plastic material such as nylon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyethylene (PE), acetal (for example, Delrin (registered trademark)), or may be coated, Alternatively, it may be formed of a metal impregnated with graphite or a lubricant.

  In order to facilitate assembly of the mechanism and to hold the sleeve 161 in place, the inner wall of the neck 153 of the bevel gear 108 is inward at 162 near the end remote from the radially extending gear portion 151. It is stepped like a staircase. When the sleeve 161 is disposed between the neck 153 and the torsion tube 156 and the torque sensor head 155 is bolted to the gear portion 151, the sleeve is in the radial direction (between the torsion tube and the neck) and (to the torque sensor). The head 155 and the bevel gear neck 153 are held in a state where they are connected both axially (between the steps 162 on the inner surface of the neck 153). The inner diameter of the neck 153 in the region 163 beyond the step 162 is preferably configured such that the inner surface of the neck in that region is spaced from the torque sensor 150 and prevents frictional torque transmission between the two. .

  The same configuration can be used for the torque sensor for the other shaft 102 of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 to 10 and the torque sensor of the embodiment shown in other drawings.

  Hall effect sensors are used to sense the rotational position of the joint. Each position sensor comprises a dough ring arranged around one of the rotation axes. The ring has a series of north and south poles that are regularly spaced and spaced apart. With multiple Hall effect devices that can measure the position of the magnetic pole on the ring relative to the sensor array to detect a magnetic field at a location adjacent to the ring and provide a multi-bit output indicating the relative position There is a sensor chip having a sensor array. The pole rings are arranged so that each position of each joint is associated with a unique set of outputs from a pair of magnetic sensors within a 360 ° range. This may be accomplished by providing a different number of poles on each ring, creating a number of poles where the rings are disjoint. Hall effect position sensors using this general principle are known to be used in robotics and other applications.

  More specifically, each joint is associated with a pair of alternately magnetized rings and associated sensors. Each ring is arranged concentrically around the axis of the respective joint. While the ring is fixed to the element on one side of the joint, the sensor is fixed to the element on the other side of the joint, so that when the robot arm rotates around each joint, A relative rotational movement of each ring and its respective sensor occurs. Each individual sensor measures between the pair of magnetic poles where the associated ring is located relative to the sensor. Which individual sensor in a pair of magnetic poles on the ring is on the sensor cannot be determined from the output of the individual sensor. Thus, individual sensors can only be used in a relative manner and require calibration at power-up to know the absolute position of the joint. However, by using a pair of rings designed so that the number of pairs of magnetic poles in each ring has no common factor, the measurements between the pair of magnetic poles from both sensors can be combined and calibrated. The absolute position of the joint can be calculated.

  The magnetic ring and sensor are shown in FIGS. The position is sensed using magnetic rings 200, 201 and sensors 202, 203 with respect to the joint providing rotation about axis 102. For a joint that provides rotation about axis 103, the position is sensed using magnetic rings 210, 211, sensor 212 and additional sensors not shown. The magnetic ring 200 is fixed to the carrier 104 and attached to one side of the carrier. The magnetic ring 201 is fixed to the carrier 104 and attached to the other side of the carrier 104 with respect to the magnetic ring 200. The magnetic rings 200 and 201 are flat and are arranged perpendicular to the axis 102 and centered on the axis 102. The sensors 202 and 203 are fixed to the frame 100 of the arm part 310. The sensor 202 is attached so as to be adjacent to the side surface of the ring 200. The sensor 203 is attached so as to be adjacent to the side surface of the ring 201. Cables 204 and 205 carry signals from the sensors 202 and 203. The magnetic ring 210 is fixed to the carrier 104 and attached to one side of the carrier flange 220. The magnetic ring 211 is fixed to the carrier 104 and attached to the other side of the carrier flange 220 with respect to the magnetic ring 200. The magnetic rings 210 and 211 are flat, arranged perpendicular to the shaft 103 and centered on the shaft 103. A sensor different from the sensor 212 for rotation around the shaft 103 is fixed to the frame 101 of the arm portion 311. The sensor 212 is attached so as to be adjacent to the side surface of the ring 210. Another sensor is attached adjacent to the side of the ring 211.

  Thus, in the arrangement of FIGS. 7-10, rotation about each axis 102, 103 is sensed by two multipole magnetic rings, each with a corresponding sensor. Each sensor generates a multi-bit signal that represents the relative position of the nearest pole on each ring with respect to the sensor. By arranging so that the number of poles on the two rings are relatively prime, the output of the sensor is a combination that indicates the configuration of the joint within the range of 360 °. Thereby, the rotational position of the joint can be detected within the range. Further, in the arrangements shown in FIGS. 7-10, the two rings associated with each joint (ie, rings 200, 201 on the one hand and rings 210, 211 on the other hand) are substantially each other along the axis of the respective joint. It is arranged to be offset. The ring 200 is disposed in the vicinity of the bearing 190 on one side of the main body of the carrier 104, while the ring 201 is disposed in the vicinity of the bearing 105 on the opposite side of the carrier 104. Ring 210 is disposed on one side of flange 220, while ring 211 is disposed on the other side of flange 220. Each ring is formed of a sheet of fabric that is flat in a plane perpendicular to the axis on which the ring is placed. Each pair of magnetic rings (ie, rings 200, 201 on the one hand and rings 210, 211 on the other hand) are spaced from each other in a direction along their respective axes by a distance greater than five times the thickness of the pair of rings. More preferably, they are spaced from each other in the direction along their respective axes by a distance greater than 10 or 20 times the thickness of the pair of rings. Conveniently, the pair of rings may be on opposite sides of the respective joints, similar to the rings 200,201. Conveniently, the carrier 104 to which a pair of both rings are attached extends radially outward so as to be positioned in a radial arrangement between the rings when viewed in a plane including the respective rotational axes. Yes. Therefore, for example, the flange 220 is located in the radial direction between the ring 210 and the ring 211. Conveniently, each joint may be supported or defined by two bearings, which are located on opposite sides of the joint on either side of the joint along each axis. Each ring of the joint may overlap with a corresponding bearing in a plane perpendicular to the axis. Conveniently, the ring sensor may be mounted on an arm site articulated by a joint. The sensor may be attached to the opposite side of the arm part.

  By separating the rings, the packaging of the joint and / or arm site to which the associated sensor is attached can be greatly improved. By separating the rings, there are more opportunities to place the rings in convenient locations, and the ability to separate the sensors themselves can provide packaging benefits. The joint is preferably stiff enough compared to the number of magnetic poles on the ring so that torsion of the joint under load does not adversely affect the measurement. For example, the joint is preferably sufficiently rigid so that it does not twist enough to cause a change in magnetic transition in the sensor under its maximum rated operating load even if the elements of the joint are spaced apart. . This makes it possible to detect the direction in addition to the movement in all load states.

  Arm portion 311 is distal to arm portion 310. The arm portion 310 is the proximal side of the joint around the axes 102 and 103 shown in FIGS. As described with reference to FIG. 1, data from the torque sensor and the position sensor is fed back to the control unit 10. Such data is preferably passed by a wired connection through the arm itself.

  Each arm part includes a circuit board. 7 to 10 show the circuit board 250 conveyed by the arm part 311. Each circuit board includes a data encoder / decoder (eg, integrated circuit 251). The encoder / decoder converts the signal between the format used locally at each arm site and the format used for data transmission along the arm. For example, (a) locally with respect to the arm site, the position sensor may return a position reading when passing by magnetic pole transition, and the torque sensor may be an analog or digital signal indicating the currently sensed torque. And the drive motor may be requesting a pulse width modulated drive signal. On the other hand, (b) For data transmission along the arm, a general data transmission protocol which is a packet data protocol such as Ethernet may be used. Thus, the encoder / decoder receives data packets carried along the arm from the control unit 10 and interprets the data to form a control signal for any local motor as well as locally detected data. Can be converted to packetized form and sent to the control unit. The circuit boards provided along the arms may be connected to each other by a communication cable so as to allow communication from a relatively distal circuit board through a number of proximal circuit boards. .

  In general, it is desirable not to send data from one component of the arm to a component more distal to the arm. Doing so would include cables running unnecessarily distally within the arm, increasing the weight distributed distally. And since the circuit boards are connected to each other, once the data is sent to the relatively distal circuit board, the next most proximal circuit board can transfer the data in any way to transfer it. Process.

  The composite joint around the shafts 102 and 103 has rotational position sensors 202 and 203 (for rotation about the shaft 102) and a rotational position sensor 212 (for rotation about the shaft 103). The sensors 202, 203 are attached to the frame 100 of the arm site 310, which is proximal to the joint whose movement is measured by the sensors. Data from the position sensors 202, 203 is sent along cables 204, 205 extending along the arm site 310 on the proximal side of the sensor. The sensor 202 is attached to the frame 101 of the arm part 311. Data from the position sensor 202 is sent along the cable to the circuit board 250 on the same arm portion. In either case, no data is passed to the elements of the arm distal to where the data was collected.

  The composite joint around the shafts 102 and 103 has a torque sensor 150 (for rotation about the shaft 103) and a torque sensor 191 (for rotation about the shaft 102). Data detected by the torque sensors 150 and 191 is conveyed as it is to the circuit board 250 by a flexible cable. In the circuit board 250, the encoder / decoder 251 encodes the detected data into, for example, an Ethernet packet and transmits it to the control unit 10. Thus, rather than being sent to the circuit board of the more proximal arm site 310 for encoding, the data from the torque sensor is passed to the circuit board of the more distal arm site for encoding and then It is passed through the cable from the circuit board in the distal direction along the arm.

  Such an arrangement is shown in FIG. The arm portion 310 includes a circuit board 195 that receives data from the position sensor 202 and provides command data to the motors 109 and 110. The arm portion 311 includes a circuit board 250 that receives data from the position sensor 212 and the torque sensors 150 and 191. The circuit board 250 encodes the detected data and passes it to the circuit board 195 via the data bus 196, and the circuit board 195 transfers it to the control unit 10 via the link 197. The position sensor 202 is directly connected to the circuit board 195 by a cable. The position sensor 212 and the torque sensors 150 and 191 are directly connected to the circuit board 195 by cables.

  As shown in FIG. 2, the arm part 4 c is supported by the arm part 311, and is rotatable with respect to the arm part 4 c around the axis 307. FIG. 12 shows a cross section through the module including the arm portion 4c. Such a module has a base 400 and a side wall 440 fixed to the base. The base 400 is attached to the end surface 401 at the tip of the arm part 311 (see FIG. 7). The arm portion 4c is generally designated 403. The arm portion 4c is rotatable with respect to the base 400 about an axis 402 corresponding to the axis 307 in FIG. Therefore, the arm part 4 c is attached to the side wall 440 by bearings 430 and 431 that define a rotary joint between the side wall 440 and the arm part 4 c around the shaft 402.

  The arm portion 4c has a housing 404 that houses its internal components. These components include a circuit board 405 and motors 406 and 407. The motors 406 and 407 are fixed to the housing 404 so as not to rotate. The housing 404 is freely rotatable with respect to the base 400 by bearings 430 and 431. The groove 408 runs inside the module to accommodate a communication cable (not shown) that runs from the circuit board 250 to the circuit board 405. Such a communication cable carries a signal, and when the signal is decoded by the encoder / decoder of the circuit board 405, a control signal for controlling the operation of the motors 406 and 407 is issued by the signal.

  The motor 406 drives the rotation of the arm part 4 c with respect to the arm part 311. Accordingly, the motor 406 drives the rotation of the housing 404 relative to the base 400. The base 400 has a central boss 410. A torque sensor of the type described in connection with FIGS. 9 and 10 is generally attached to the boss 410. Such a torque sensor has an integral member including a base 411, a twisted tube 412, and a head 413 extending in the radial direction. The base 411 of the torque sensor is fixed to the boss 410 of the base 400. Similar to the torque sensor of FIGS. 9 and 10, the sleeve 421 protects the torque sensor from shear forces and reduces the torsion of the torque sensor to reduce friction between surrounding components, ie, the base 400 and the torque sensor. Extends around the tube.

  The internal gear 420 is fixed to the head 413 of the torque sensor. The motor 406 drives a shaft 414 having a pinion gear 415. The pinion gear 415 is engaged with the internal gear 420. Accordingly, when the motor 406 is operated, the pinion gear 415 is rotationally driven, whereby the motor 406 rotates the arm portion 4c constituting a part thereof around the axis 402. The resulting torque about the axis 402 is transmitted to the base 400 via the torsion tube 412 of the torque sensor, allowing the torque to be measured by a strain gauge attached to the torsion tube.

  An interface 8 for attachment to the instrument is shown in FIG. The shaft 440 of the motor 407 is exposed at an interface for providing drive to the instrument.

  Torque data from the torque sensors 411, 412 and 413 is passed to the circuit board 250 of the arm part 311 for encoding. The rotational position of the arm portion 4c can be detected by a sensor 445 carried in the arm portion 4c, and the sensor 445 detects a transition between the magnetic poles on the rings 446 and 447 attached to the inside of the housing 404. Data from the sensor 445 is passed to the circuit board 405 of the arm portion 4c for encoding.

  Motors that drive rotation about the joints 102, 103 are mounted at the arm site 310 proximal to the joints. As described above, this can avoid the weight near the tip of the arm and improve the weight distribution. On the other hand, the motor that drives the rotation of the arm part 4 c is attached to the arm part 4 c rather than the arm part 311. This may be disadvantageous because the motor 406 needs to be mounted more distally, but it has been found that this makes the arm portion 311 particularly compact. The motor 406 can be packaged in the arm portion 4c parallel to a motor (eg, 407) that provides drive to the instrument, ie, across a common plane perpendicular to the axis 402. This means that the incorporation of the motor 406 into the arm portion 4c does not require the arm portion 4c to be substantially longer.

  Instead of the toothed gear, the joint may be driven by friction means.

  Applicant thereby discloses each separate feature described herein and any combination of two or more such features, such features or combinations of features being common to those of ordinary skill in the art. To the extent that it can be implemented based on this specification as a whole in light of general knowledge. It is irrelevant whether such a feature or combination of features solves any problem disclosed in this specification, and such specific description does not limit the scope of the claims. Applicants have shown that aspects of the invention may consist of such individual features or combinations of features. In view of the foregoing description it will be evident to a person skilled in the art that various modifications may be made within the scope of the invention.

One or both of the first and second drive gears are bevel gears, i.e., a pitched side or curved cone, and / or a gear whose teeth are arranged on such a cone. There may be. The tooth trace may be linear or curved. One or both of the first and second drive gears may be skew shaft gears.

One or both of the first and second drive gears may be bevel gears. One or both of the first and second drive gears may be skew shaft gears.

One or both of the first and second drive gears may be bevel gears. One or both of the first and second drive gears may be skew shaft gears. The first drive gear may be a partial circular gear.

FIG. 2 shows the robot list 5 in more detail. The list 5 includes four rotary joints 300, 301, 302, and 303. Such joints are arranged in series, including the rigid portion of the arm extending from each joint to the next joint. The most proximal joint 300 of the wrist couples arm portion 4b to arm portion 310. The joint 300 has a “roll” axis of rotation 304 that is oriented generally along the arm limb 4b just proximal to the wrist joint. Joint 301 of the next most proximal end of the wrist is attached to the arm portion 310 to the arm portion 311. Joint 301 has a “pitch” rotation axis 305 that is perpendicular to axis 304 in all configurations of joint 300 and joint 301. Joint 302 of the next most proximal end of the wrist is attached to the arm portion 310 to the arm portion 311. The joint 302 has a “yaw” rotation axis 306 that is perpendicular to the axis 305 in all configurations of the joints 301, 302. In some configurations of the list, axis 306 is also perpendicular to axis 304. Joint 303 of the next most proximal end of the wrist is attached to the arm portion 311 to the arm portion 4c. The joint 303 has a “roll” rotation axis 307 that is perpendicular to the axis 306 in all configurations of the joints 302, 303. In some configurations of the list, axis 307 is also perpendicular to axis 305 and parallel to axis 304 (preferably collinear). In order for this to provide a particularly compact configuration, it is desirable that the axes 305, 306 intersect each other. Joints 300 and 303 may be arranged so that axes 304 and 307 can pass through the intersection of axes 305 and 306 in some configurations of the list.

To prevent this parasitic motion, the control system 10 is configured to drive the compensating motion of the shaft 77 in conjunction with the motion of the shaft 76 to separate the motion about the shaft 62 from the motion about the shaft 63. Also good. In this way, the control system 10 operates the motor to drive the rotation of the shaft 76, causing rotation about the axis 62 of the arm portion 311 'relative to the arm portion 310', while simultaneously operating the motor to drive the shaft 77 May be configured to rotate the shaft 77 so as to prevent parasitic rotation around the shaft 63. The control system 10 can be configured to operate in this manner when the robot arm is commanded to articulate about axis 62 without articulating about axis 63.

Various aspects of the mechanism shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 are advantageous to help make the mechanism particularly compact.
1. It is more convenient for the bevel gear 74 to be partially circular, that is, its teeth do not include a complete circle. For example, the gear 74 may be less than 270 °, less than 180 °, or less than 90 °. This is arranged such that at least a part of the other bevel gear 75 intersects a circle coincident with the gear 74 having the same radius as the outermost part of the gear 74 around the axis of the gear 74. Is allowed. Such a feature helps reduce the extent of spread of the composite joint, while at the same time being particularly important in the type of list shown in FIG. 2 with a pair of roll joints and a pair of pitch / yaw joints between them. Yes, because with this type of joint, there is redundancy between the pitch / yaw joints so that a wide range of positions at the distal end of the arm can be reached even with limited movement around the axis 62. It is. As shown in FIG. 6, the bevel gear 74 has a small radius in a region not included in the teeth. The partial circular bevel gears of other embodiments may be formed in the same manner.
2. Conveniently, gear 74 and / or gear 75 are provided as bevel gears because they can be driven away from worm gears arranged in the plane of the respective outer radius. However, they may also be external gears engaged on their outer surfaces by worm gears 76, 79 or gears with radial teeth.
3 . Conveniently, the bevel gears and the worm gears coupled to them can be skew axes, for example, Spiroid®. These gears allow a relatively high torque capacity in a relatively compact form.

Each arm part includes a circuit board. 7 to 10 show the circuit board 250 conveyed by the arm part 311. Each circuit board includes a data encoder / decoder (eg, integrated circuit 251). The encoder / decoder converts the signal between the format used locally at each arm site and the format used for data transmission along the arm. For example, (a) locally with respect to the arm site, the position sensor may return a position reading when passing by magnetic pole transition, and the torque sensor may be an analog or digital signal indicating the currently sensed torque. And the drive motor may be requesting a pulse width modulated drive signal. On the other hand, for the data transmission along the (b) arm, a general data transmission protocol that is a packet data protocol such as Ethernet (registered trademark) may be used. Thus, the encoder / decoder receives data packets carried along the arm from the control unit 10 and interprets the data to form a control signal for any local motor as well as locally detected data. Can be converted to packetized form and sent to the control unit. The circuit boards provided along the arms may be connected to each other by a communication cable so as to allow communication from a relatively distal circuit board through a number of proximal circuit boards. .

The composite joint around the shafts 102 and 103 has a torque sensor 150 (for rotation about the shaft 103) and a torque sensor 191 (for rotation about the shaft 102). Data detected by the torque sensors 150 and 191 is conveyed as it is to the circuit board 250 by a flexible cable. In the circuit board 250, the encoder / decoder 251 encodes the detected data into, for example, an Ethernet (registered trademark) packet and transmits it to the control unit 10. Thus, rather than being sent to the circuit board of the more proximal arm site 310 for encoding, the data from the torque sensor is passed to the circuit board of the more distal arm site for encoding and then It is passed through the cable from the circuit board in the distal direction along the arm.

Claims (42)

  1. A robot arm configured to articulate the first limb of the arm with respect to the second limb of the arm about two non-parallel axes of rotation, the joint mechanism comprising:
    An intermediate carrier attached to the first limb by a first rotational joint having a first rotational axis and attached to the second limb by a second rotational joint having a second rotational axis;
    A first drive gear disposed about the first rotation axis and fixed to the intermediate carrier;
    A second drive gear disposed around the second rotational axis and secured to the second limb;
    A first drive shaft for driving the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotation axis, the first drive gear extending along the first limb and having a first shaft gear; A first drive shaft adapted to engage the first drive gear with the first drive gear;
    A second drive shaft for driving the second drive gear to rotate about the second axis of rotation, the second drive shaft extending along the first limb and having a second shaft gear A shaft,
    An intermediate gear train that is supported by the intermediate carrier and connects the second shaft gear to the second drive gear, and includes a first intermediate gear disposed around the first rotation axis. An intermediate gear train in which the first intermediate gear is adapted to engage the second shaft gear;
    A control unit adapted to respond to a command signal instructing movement of the robot arm by driving and rotating the first and second drive shafts, wherein the robot arm is When commanded to articulate about the first rotational axis without articulating about the rotational axis, the first drive shaft is driven to rotate and the joint about the first rotational axis A control unit configured to cause movement and drive the second drive shaft to rotate to counteract parasitic joint motion about the second axis of rotation. Robot arm featuring
  2.   The robot arm according to claim 1, wherein the intermediate gear train includes a plurality of connecting gears configured to rotate around an axis parallel to the first rotation axis.
  3.   The intermediate gear train includes an intermediate shaft configured to rotate about an axis parallel to the first rotation axis, and the intermediate shaft includes a third shaft gear; The robot arm according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the third shaft gear engages with the second drive gear.
  4.   The connecting gear is on one side of a plane perpendicular to the first rotational axis and including the teeth of the first drive gear, and at least a portion of the third shaft gear is on the other side of the plane 4. The robot arm according to claim 3, when dependent on claim 2.
  5.   The robot arm according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the third shaft gear is a worm gear.
  6.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein one or both of the first and second shaft gears are worm gears.
  7.   The robot arm according to claim 1, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are bevel gears.
  8.   The robot arm according to claim 7, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are skew shaft gears.
  9.   The robot arm according to claim 1, wherein the first drive gear is a partial circular gear.
  10.   The robot arm according to claim 9, wherein at least a part of the second drive gear intersects a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.
  11.   Claim 9 or claim 9 when dependent on claim 3, wherein at least a portion of the intermediate shaft intersects a circle about the first axis of rotation that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear. The robot arm according to 10.
  12.   The robot arm according to claim 1, wherein the first and second rotation axes are orthogonal to each other.
  13.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the first and second rotation axes intersect each other.
  14. A robot arm configured to articulate the first limb of the arm with respect to the second limb of the arm about two non-parallel axes of rotation, the joint mechanism comprising:
    An intermediate carrier attached to the first limb by a first rotational joint having a first rotational axis and attached to the second limb by a second rotational joint having a second rotational axis;
    A first drive gear disposed about the first rotation axis and fixed to the intermediate carrier;
    A second drive gear disposed around the second rotational axis and secured to the second limb;
    A first drive shaft for driving the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotation axis, the first drive gear extending along the first limb and having a first shaft gear; A first drive shaft adapted to engage the first drive gear with the first drive gear;
    A second drive shaft for driving the second drive gear to rotate about the second rotation axis, along the first limb on one side of the plane including the second rotation axis And a second drive shaft extending through the plane and extending to the other side of the plane;
    And an intermediate connecting portion that meshes with the second drive shaft on the other side of the plane and connects a second shaft gear to the second drive gear. Robot arm.
  15.   The robot arm according to claim 14, wherein the second drive shaft includes a flexible element.
  16.   The robot arm according to claim 15, wherein the flexible element is disposed on the first rotation axis.
  17.   The robot arm according to claim 15 or 16, wherein the flexible element is a universal joint.
  18.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 17, wherein the second drive shaft is connected to the intermediate carrier by a rotary joint on the other side of the plane.
  19.   The second drive shaft has a second shaft gear on the other side of the plane, and the intermediate connecting portion includes an intermediate shaft, and the intermediate shaft is 18. The robot arm according to claim 14, further comprising: a first intermediate gear that meshes with the second shaft gear, and a second intermediate gear that meshes with the second drive gear.
  20.   The robot arm according to claim 19, wherein the second drive shaft rotates about an axis perpendicular to the second rotation axis.
  21.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 20, wherein the second intermediate gear is a worm gear.
  22.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 21, wherein the first shaft gear is a worm gear.
  23.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 22, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are bevel gears.
  24.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 23, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are skew shaft gears.
  25.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 24, wherein the first drive gear is a partial circular gear.
  26.   26. The robot arm according to claim 25, wherein at least a part of the second drive gear intersects a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.
  27.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 26, wherein the first and second rotation axes are orthogonal to each other.
  28.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 27, wherein the first and second rotation axes intersect each other.
  29. A robot arm configured to articulate the first limb of the arm with respect to the second limb of the arm about two non-parallel axes of rotation, the joint mechanism comprising:
    An intermediate carrier attached to the first limb by a first rotational joint having a first rotational axis and attached to the second limb by a second rotational joint having a second rotational axis;
    A first drive gear disposed about the first rotation axis and fixed to the intermediate carrier;
    A second drive gear disposed around the second rotational axis and secured to the second limb;
    A first drive shaft for driving the first drive gear to rotate about the first rotation axis, the first drive gear extending along the first limb and having a first shaft gear; A first drive shaft adapted to engage the first drive gear with the first drive gear;
    A second drive shaft for driving the second drive gear to rotate about the second rotational axis, extending along the first limb and having a second shaft gear; A second drive shaft adapted to engage the second drive gear with the second shaft gear;
    It is composed including
    The robot characterized in that the second drive shaft includes a rectilinear joint that can change the length of the intermediate carrier according to the movement of the intermediate carrier around the first rotation axis. arm.
  30.   30. The robot arm of claim 29, wherein the rectilinear joint is a sliding spline connection.
  31.   30. The second drive shaft includes a first flexible joint on one side of the rectilinear joint and a second flexible joint on the other side of the rectilinear joint. 30. The robot arm according to 30.
  32.   32. The robot arm according to claim 31, wherein the second drive shaft is connected to the intermediate carrier by a rotary joint opposite the second flexible joint with respect to the rectilinear joint.
  33.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 29 to 32, wherein one or both of the first and second shaft gears are worm gears.
  34.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 29 to 33, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are bevel gears.
  35.   35. The robot arm of claim 34, wherein one or both of the first drive gears are skew shaft gears.
  36.   36. The robot arm according to any one of claims 29 to 35, wherein the first drive gear is a partial circular gear.
  37.   37. The robot arm according to claim 36, wherein at least a part of the second drive gear intersects a circle around the first rotation axis that coincides with a radially outermost portion of the first drive gear.
  38.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 33 to 37, wherein the first and second rotation axes are orthogonal to each other.
  39.   The robot arm according to any one of claims 33 to 38, wherein the first and second rotation axes intersect each other.
  40.   The control unit further includes a control unit adapted to respond to a command signal instructing rotation of the robot arm by driving and rotating the first and second drive shafts. Drive and rotate the first drive shaft when the robot arm is commanded to articulate about the first rotational axis without articulating about the second rotational axis. And configured to cause articulation about the first axis of rotation and to drive the second drive shaft to counteract parasitic articulation about the second axis of rotation. The robot arm according to any one of 14 to 39.
  41.   The control unit further includes a control unit adapted to respond to a command signal instructing rotation of the robot arm by driving and rotating the first and second drive shafts. However, when the second limb is articulating about the first rotational axis with respect to the first limb, the robot arm is commanded to articulate about the second rotational axis. Configured to cause articulation about the second rotational axis to drive and rotate the second drive shaft to provide a smooth rotation about the second rotational axis. The robot arm according to any one of claims 14 to 40.
  42.   A robotic arm substantially as herein described with reference to FIGS. 1-12 of the accompanying drawings.
JP2018502784A 2015-07-22 2016-07-22 Robot arm Pending JP2018527200A (en)

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GB1512959.6A GB2541369A (en) 2015-07-22 2015-07-22 Drive mechanisms for robot arms
PCT/GB2016/052264 WO2017013453A1 (en) 2015-07-22 2016-07-22 Drive mechanisms for robot arms

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